Sunday, August 18, 2013

80 Year Spin

Last week my Dad turned 80 years old, and soon my mom will follow suit.  We decided to celebrate with a big party and with half our constituency already in Utah, that became the center of our festivities.  Some of the adults smuggled in caffeine and there wasn't a single jell-o dessert, so it was pretty much a rager.

The older I get and the more I learn about my mom, I am blown away at our similarities.  This thrills me and terrifies her, though in her defense she has never been skinny dipping and in MY defense I have never tried to pass off carob as a suitable chocolate substitute.

Recently my parents were here visiting and my mom said she wanted to go into a clothing store.  This was highly uncharacteristic.  She couldn't have shocked me more if she had said, "I'd like to send the Obamas some flowers."  So I quickly obliged, wanting to support her in this sudden act of bravery.  She was looking for an outfit suitable for an upcoming wedding, so I began flipping through hangers.  Before offering up any particular suggestions she coached me what to look for by saying, "I try to stay away from the manlier looks.  I haven't been called 'Sir' in a while."  Oh the huWOmanity.  At the same time I also knew that mom was not the shmoofy type either, so I set out to find the most egregious assault to her senses as I pulled out a black organza ruffly number covered in black and white overlapping hearts and said, "Hey Mom, what about this one?"  I held it up, assuming she would instantly recognize my jest but she surprised me and responded with a cursory glance, "Oh yeah, that's pretty."  I dropped it to my side, disappointed that she didn't realize what I was doing and said, "Mom!  I was just kidding," to which she answered, "Oh good, I was just being polite."  And all was right again in my universe.

I really, really love my Mom.

During our party there was a point where the siblings gathered together and presented my parents with their respective gifts.  My mom received emeralds, her birthstone.  My Dad received a canvas collage of every single member of his posterity from his children down to his great grandchildren - proof of a promise made to him long ago.  My oldest brother, Mitch, shared a story as he presented our gift to my Dad that I had never heard before.  I'm sharing it again here, because I don't want to forget it.

Mitch had just returned from a two year stint as a missionary for our church in Argentina.  He was trying to figure out what to do next with his life, and had wild aspirations.  One day he sat in the front yard talking to my Dad about it while I and my younger brothers played nearby.  (Twelve years separates me from my oldest brother, so we would have been roughly 9, 7 and 5.)  Per Mitch's account he turned to my Dad at one point and asked if he was happy with his life's choices (becoming a high school Biology teacher, having 7 children, small income, big responsibilities) adding, "I mean, Dad?  Haven't you ever wanted to change the world?"  At which point my father gestured to me and my younger brothers playing in the distance and said, "I did."

I really, really love my Dad.

The last 80 years have been good to my parents and as you can see, many of those years have been good to us too.  So, here's to my Mom and Dad.  For not setting fire to the joint when we made them blow out their candles, and of course, for changing the world.

With my kids at the Broadmoor Hotel

Blowing out their candles


Kara said...

I love this.

Kerri said...

This tops them all. Loved it!


KinseyBug said...

That was an incredible party! I am so glad I was a part of it!

Jen said...

Such lovely sentiments! Your story reminded me of the time someone stopped my mom in the grocery store with her brood of 5 and said, "what right do you think you have bringing so many children into the world? This world has enough problems." To which she promptly replied, "My children are not problems, they're solutions." Parents pretty much rock. :)

Lorie said...

Wow, that does look like a forest fire!! Haha! I love your Dad's perspective on "changing the world" and having his priorities straight. Your parents are pretty much rock starts and I hope I am like them if I ever make it to 80. Speaking of 80...I just realized that you are over halfway there!! Yikes!!! (Love you, too!)

Stefani said...

When I realize how much I'm like my mom, I alternate between thrilled and terrified. I get your ambiguity. Your parents seem great though, what a good perspective.

I only have 3 kids but still got comments all the time when they were little about having my hands full. It really bugged me - because, while it was true, I didn't ever want my kids to think they were a burden or unwanted, so I started answering people with, "yes my hands are full, but so is my heart. " It basically stopped people in their tracks - and hopefully made an impression on my kids.

anitamombanita said...

If I could have picked parents other than the ones I got, they would have been yours, for sure. Love love love those two!

anitamombanita said...

If I could have picked parents other than the ones I got, they would have been yours, for sure. Love love love those two!